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Macron urges G7 action on Amazon fires

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Addis Ababa, August 23, 2019 (FBC) -French President Emmanuel Macron has branded the record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest an “international crisis” that needs to be top of the agenda at the upcoming G7 summit, prompting a swift rebuke from Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro.

“Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rainforest – the lungs which produces 20 percent of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire,” Macron said in a tweet on Thursday.

Fires in the Amazon, a forest considered a vital bulwark against climate change, have surged 83 percent so far this year compared with the same period in 2018, according to data released earlier this week by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

Macron called on members of the G7 group of advanced industrialised countries – which does not include Brazil – to address the issue over the weekend at a scheduled meeting in the French town of Biarritz.

His call was backed up by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the Amazon fires posed an “acute emergency” and belonged on the G7 agenda.

But Bolsonaro reacted angrily to Macron’s comments, accusing his French counterpart of attempting to use the issue for “political gain” and describing the fires as an “internal matter” for Brazil and other Amazonian countries.

“The French president’s suggestion that Amazon issues be discussed at the G-7 without participation by the countries in the region evokes a colonialist mentality that is out of place in the 21st century,” Bolsonaro said in a Twitter post.

Several other countries in the Amazon region have seen a surge in fires this year, according to INPE data, including Bolivia and Peru, both of which border Brazil.

Source: Aljazeera